, Volume 98-100, Issue 1-9, pp 803-813

Development of continuous surfactin production from potato process effluent by Bacillus subtilis in an airlift reactor

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The biosurfactant surfactin has the potential to aid in the recovery of subsurface organic contaminants (environmental remediation) or crude oils (oil recovery). However, high medium and purification costs limit its use in these high-volume applications. In previous work, we showed that surfactin can be produced from an inexpensive low-solids (LS) potato process effluent with minimal amendments or pretreatments. Previous research has also shown that 95% or more of the surfactin in Bacillus subtilis cultures can be recovered by foam fractionation. In this work, we present the results of research to integrate surfactin production with foam fractionation. Experiments were performed in an airlift reactor, with continuous collection of the foam through a tube at the top of the column. Preliminary results using both purified potato starch and unamended low-solids potato process effluent as substrates for surfactin production indicate that the process is oxygen limited and that recalcitrant indigenous bacteria in the potato process effluent may hamper continuous surfactin production.